Category: Construction

Guest Post: DIY Dress Form

My name is Melissa Taylor Jenkins, owner and designer of the clothing brand Katastrophic.  I’ve been following Madalynne for a while now – I absolutely love that it’s a blog for people who want to sew their own beautiful and well crafted clothing. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to Maddie that I had built a DIY dress form that I have found really helpful in my own designing and sewing, which I thought might be useful to her readers. Maddie invited me to write a guest post, and I’m so excited to share with you what I’ve learned about working with dress forms – how to find or make one that is truly professional, and a few basic ways they can drastically enhance your sewing and designing process. Personalized dress forms can be incredibly helpful for the seamstress who is making her own clothing.  I’m sure a lot of you have dealt with the frustration of trying to test fit, and pin, and drape garments on yourself. Having a dress form with your own body measurements can make the whole process a lot easier and actually more creative. A truly professional dress form is one that has important reference lines (center front, center back, side seams, and princess seams) sewn into the cover, and a soft surface that you can pin fabric to. In my opinion, adjustable dress forms, though tempting, are not the best option because the gaps in the forms are exactly on these reference lines, making it impossible to pin or measure anything that is perfectly balanced.  They can be helpful for adjusting the fit of an existing garment, but not for creating a new pattern or design.  The inexpensive ones often found at craft stores (cough-dritz-cough) are exceptionally low quality and are often not stable…

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tags: Construction, Fashon, Interview Comments: 11

Dear Maddie: Altering Garments

In my opinion, both altering a garment and making one from scratch requires skill. One is not harder than the other, rather, each one requires different techniques and methods. Also, each one is suited for different types of sewers. While one sewist loves bringing life to a worn and outdated garment, another hates messing with something that is already constructed. One aspect of my sewing career that I’m especially grateful for is that started by getting my feet wet in both fields. When I worked at Mishka’s tailor shop, I helped create patterns and make garments from scratch (I remember replicating this dress for one client. That was fun!), but I also hemmed jeans (keeping the original hem) and shortened cuffed, men’s sleeves (that was a hassle!). Specifics… specifics… you want specific examples on what I’m talking about, right? From my experience working at Mishka’s and the trickling of alterations I’ve done since, here are my pros, cons, upsides, downsides, viewpoints, or whatever you want to call it, for altering and making clothes.   There is a different order of operations when altering clothes. When sewing a garment from scratch, the sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on, but when changing a garment after it’s been made, the sequence can be backwards – 4, 3, 2, 1 – or mixed up – 4, 2, 3, 1. Let’s pretend you have a pair of pants that fit everywhere except the back waist – it sticks out and let’s places that the sun don’t shine, well, shine. What do you do? Well, what Mishka and I did was add 2 darts on either side of the CB seam. Detaching the waistband from side seam to side seam (don’t remove the entire thing!), we added darts mid panel. If there were pockets, we…

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tags: Construction, Pattern Making Comments: 17